Love Your Job with JobCoachAmy
Join us for a peek inside the career-empowering world of Amy Feind Reeves, founder and CEO of JobCoachAmy. After 25+ years as an executive and hiring manager, Amy’s world revolves around helping professionals at all levels of their careers find and keep the jobs they love. Her long-held passion for supporting others in their careers comes from the difficult time she overcame after college when she needed to quickly change careers after finding herself a single mother.
As a highly sought-after expert, speaker, and career coach, Amy works globally with clients across numerous industries seeking to find their own paths to success in the professional world. When we learned of Amy and her JobCoachAmy work, we couldn’t wait to learn more and share it in this edition of the Lh Empowered Women Empower series!
Be Empowered by Amy Feind Reeves, CEO of JobCoachAmy
Love Happens: As our name and the tagline of our publisher, KOKET, denotes, at Love Happens, we are firm believers that you cannot achieve any level of success without love. When did you realize you loved helping young professionals transition into their careers?
Amy Feind Reeves: The first time I used what I had learned about how to research companies and interview was shortly after I got my first professional job in a bank training program a year after graduating. I was always the first person to raise my hand in the office when someone said they had a friend or relative looking for help getting into whatever business I happened to be in at the time.
It may be a strange passion to develop, but I always knew that sharing what I had taught myself could really make a difference at what is usually a difficult time of transition—and that the perspective I offered was generally not available anywhere else. As my career went on and I hired more and more people at higher and higher levels, I added to my knowledge bank and became a more valuable resource for peers as well as those starting out in their careers.
Lh: Tell us a bit about your past and what led up to your current role as the owner of JobCoachAmy.
Amy: I feel lucky to have had a career that I enjoyed tremendously—which is not to say that there were not tough periods. For the most part, however, I was in roles where I was both learning and making meaningful contributions. This is what made whatever job I had satisfying at the end of the day.
If someone had told me that before I turned 30, I would get a certificate in petroleum engineering, finance a gold mine and a geothermal plant, then reorganize the business processes for an integrated steel manufacturer, I would have said, “you can’t have the right girl”. But I did and followed that up with writing customer retention scripts and processes for a cell phone carrier. It was a great ride. And I learned a lot about how a lot of different industries operate, organize, hire, and promote.
When I started to manage to consult offices in the pharmaceutical industry, I faced another steep learning curve, as I did when I built and sold my own small company and when I was COO for a non-profit that supported the construction of public facilities and low-income housing in underserved neighborhoods. Everything I learned goes into what I offer clients today about the wide range of roles that are out there and available.
Lh: How does JobCoachAmy work?
Amy: In my one-to-one work, a potential client and I will talk for up to an hour free of charge and use that time to really learn about what issues the client may be having in their job search and what their career goals are. That is not a sales session, but one where I do my best to offer support and direction. Afterward, I am happy to talk about working together and the packages I offer. We then work together to develop the most relevant deliverables and skills for the client.
I also offer group webinars and will soon be offering downloadable pre-filmed courses. Topics include identifying what type of career would best suit you; creating effective resumes, cover letters, and elevator pitches; how to network; interviewing skills; how to analyze a company and a role; and then some shorter specific issues. For example, best practices to use when asking for references. I cover a lot of ground for those starting their careers, those in transition, and those starting to think about stepping down from a career pinnacle to something less stressful but just as rewarding.
My opinion is that, no, there is no clear path to success. There is YOUR path to success, and you get to define what that looks like for YOU.
Lh: What is the best part of your career today?
Amy: I obviously love to get calls from clients who have received and accepted job offers they are excited about. However, the longer I continue to support clients, the more I see my clients progress through their careers. Lately, I have been starting to get calls from my initial clients to say they have been promoted to major roles, in part because they are using the techniques and tools I gave them. That is hard to beat.
Lh: What is your perception of the hiring world now, considering the current environment?
Amy: You know, I believe there are always good jobs for good people. I also believe that regardless of whether there is a “war for talent” or a glut of people looking for work, employers are always going to have a rigorous process for weeding out the people they don’t think will be a good fit. Bad hires are EXPENSIVE. So, I don’t really see much change in the year ahead, with the possible exception of more jobs becoming contract-to-hire or, for early career roles, seeing a greater number of internships with the potential to become full-time roles. Companies still need help; they may just be shy about adding a permanent commitment to the budget.
Lh: Is there a clear path to success? How can someone grow to their fullest potential?
Amy: That is a question for the ages. You need to start with a definition of success, and that is very individualized. For me, I never really cared about running a huge P&L, but I did want to always be learning and always making an impact. Then I turned 50 and had an opportunity to be JobCoachAmy working on my own start-up. Have I reached my fullest potential? Who knows. But I like where I ended up and feel successful in that.
My opinion is that, no, there is no clear path to success. There is YOUR path to success, and you get to define what that looks like for YOU. My recommendation would be to always have specific goals but to be flexible in those goals. Plans change, underlying economics shift, and demand for products and services can be fickle. Life gets in the way. Revisit your plan and your goals regularly, and be kind to yourself if you hit a few rough patches. They happen to everyone.
Lh: What advice would you give to someone starting a new job?
Amy: Make good use of your honeymoon period. When everyone is excited to have you on board, and no one expects you to be quite up to speed yet, it’s a great time to be aggressive in learning all you can and start creating deliverables to impress your new colleagues. Create a 30/60/90-day plan with your planned activities so that anyone who wants to can have transparency as to what your goals are and provide input if they wish.
Also, make a point to meet everyone you meet in and around the office. Act like you are running for mayor by introducing yourself by name. The window on being able to do that without it being awkward will close in a few weeks—and getting to know as many people as possible is always a good thing. If they turn out to be in a different department or division, all the better for you to have a contact somewhere else!
Lh: Who is Amy Feind Reeves the Woman?
Amy: I am equally proud of the achievements and the resilience I have gained in my life, which has had perhaps more than its share of setbacks. I am incredibly grateful to be a mother and to be part of a large extended family with many members in the younger generations, all of whom, like my parent’s generation and my own, share the gene of just plain being a lot of fun to be around.
Being outside is a great luxury for me as I have spent so much of my life in offices and on planes. Supporting philanthropic organizations has been and continues to be a big part of my life. I have been a founding member and helped to scale a number of mission-driven startups. I am currently adding my career development skills to a foundation that supports first-generation college students—it’s fantastic working with really committed and kind people.
Lh: What empowers you most?
Amy: Doing what I’m good at—and knowing that it is making an impact on someone. That can be in the professional arena—it’s certainly my JobCoachAmy work now—or in my philanthropic contributions of time to the Anaya Tipnis Foundation, which supports First Generation, college students. Personally, it’s when I’m teaching my grandnieces and nephews in a sneaky way that they don’t really know it!
Lh: What’s next for Amy Feind Reeves?
Amy: Another book on making career transitions is up next, and as an empty nester (my daughter is a freshman at Northwestern University this year), probably do a lot more traveling to visit friends and escape the Boston winter for a bit. I will continue to work to get my methodology and knowledge out there for career seekers and hope to build a bigger platform to reach and support a bigger audience with JobCoachAmy.
Learn more about JobCoachAmy at jobcoachamy.com.